Fishing Trips · Tips

Late Fall Fishing Trip

I spent a great day on the water this weekend. I went to the lake with the intentions of using the baits from my last post, Fall Haul. I fished a lake that had been lowered for the winter. The lake is about 12 feet lower than its normal level. The water temperature was in the mid 50’s and the fish were biting.

The bass were located around wood structure along the new bank line. I caught the majority of the fish with crankbaits. I tried a few other baits, but the baits from my Fall Haul post worked the best. Once I fished the area thoroughly, I re-fished it with a jig and caught a few more quality bass.

Fishing lakes that have been lowered requires a little more work than normal. Most of the time, the boat ramps are inaccessible, because they on dry land with the water being down. You may have to carry your kayak or boat through mud and debris to get to the water. This keeps a lot of people from fishing this late in the year. I only saw one other boat, but I usually have the lake to myself.

Late fall and early winter fishing can be very good. If you are willing to put in a little work you’ll be the only one catching fish this time of year.

Tips

Fall Haul

I just bought some baits that I intend to use this weekend. I often wonder what other fisherman are using, so here is a look at what I will be throwing this weekend. Weather permitting, I plan on fishing a local lake that has been lowered for the winter. The bass in this lake should be located along steep sloping banks that have tree and rock structure. I do not anticipate the bass being deeper than 10 feet. These lures should produce some good results for this time of year.

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The jerkbait is a great cold water lure. I bought a suspending model.  Suspending models allow the lure to sit in front of the fish. If the fish are inactive, this bait should work well.

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Shallow diving crankbaits are a favorite of mine. These lures work very well around structure. Crankbaits with a square bill will go through wood cover without getting hung up on anything. They work much better around wood structure than crankbaits with a round bill. I use the round bill crankbaits for fishing rocks and steep sloping banks. Round billed crankbaits dive a little quicker too, this will be good for fishing fast sloping banks.

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The jig is a bait that works everywhere in every condition. This will be my last option if the other two lure styles aren’t catching fish.  Jigs can be fished very slowly around heavy cover. Jigs usually produce some big bass. I will try this lure when all else fails, because you have to fish slow using this lure. I would prefer to fish fast and cover a lot of water using the other baits, but I will fish whatever lure seems to be catching the most fish.

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Late fall fishing can be a difficult season to fish. Finding the exact location where the bass are located is more challenging, than when fishing in warmer conditions.  However, once you catch one bass, there will often be more located in that area. Hopefully my fishing trip proves to be successful this weekend using these key baits.

 

Tips

Shallow Water Crappie Tip

Crappies spend most of the year in deep water, but during the fall and spring they move into shallower water. These transitions to shallow water make them much easier to catch. I like to use a rattle bobber when the crappies are in the shallows.

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I actually found this tip out by accident. I was crappie fishing one day and saw a green and yellow rattle bobber hanging in a tree. I had never tried one before, and I’m not one to pass up a free bobber, so I switched out mine for the new found rattle bobber I found.

I quickly found that crappies are really attracted to the sound of a rattle bobber. I was surprised by how well it started catching crappies. I had not been catching many crappies that day, but once I switched bobbers I started consistently catching nice crappies. The crappies were around boat docks in 3 to 4 feet of water. I know that the bobber helped turn my day around.

This bobber is only going to be effective catching fish in water no deeper than 6 feet. Fishing in water any deeper than this, the lure will be too far below the bobber and the crappies may not find it. Also, the crappies who are hanging out in deeper water won’t be able to hear the rattle. Next time you find yourself fishing in shallow water for crappies I would suggest trying this kind of bobber. You may be surprised as surprised as I was to see how well it works.

Fishing Trips

Fishing the Everglades

A couple of years ago I took one of the best bass fishing trips of my life. We were vacationing near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and I wanted to take a guided fishing trip while we were there. I tried to book an inshore saltwater trip, but never found a guide that I felt confident about catching fish with.

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I then began my search for a bass guide. Lake Okeechobee was a little too far to drive from our hotel, but the Everglades were very close. I remember talking to Captain Michael Hicks from Bass Assassin Fishing Charters and feeling very confident that he would find good fishing spots.

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I met Captain Hicks at a local bait and tackle store, and we drove into the heart of the Everglades. Michael had a new Ranger bass boat and had it equipped with all the tackle I needed to be successful. We mainly fished the canals adjacent to the interstate system through the Everglades. He knew exactly where the fish were located. These canals run for miles, and he had the bass pin pointed to a few highly productive areas.

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I caught over a hundred bass in a 4 hour trip. Most of the bass were all over 3 pounds. I caught fish on every lure I tried. I used crankbaits, flukes, buzzbaits, soft plastics. I figured out pretty quickly that the larger bass would eat a Zara Spook. Once I figured out that I could catch 4-5 pound bass on topwater, I never put that lure down.

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I even caught a Peacock Bass on this trip. This fish is native to South America and has been transplanted to Florida. We both were surprised to see a Peacock, because we were at the very far northern stretches of this fishes environment. Peacocks need very warm water to survive, and my guide had never seen one this far north.

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Another new fish for me was an oscar. Apparently, these fish are very abundant in the Everglades. I caught dozens of oscars while bass fishing. If I lived in Florida, it would be hard not to fish for these all the time. They are very aggressive and fight hard. They were a lot of fun to catch.

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I also saw many alligators on the trip. It was really cool to see gators in the wild.

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I recommend doing your research before hiring a guide. I like to call around to a few people to see if I get a good vibe. There are hundreds of fishing guides in Florida that will gladly take you on a trip, but finding one that can really take you to where the fish are is what really counts.  This was a trip that I will never forget.

 

Fishing Trips · Tips

Camp Ernst Lake

Camp Ernst Lake is a very popular place to fish in Northern Kentucky. I have learned that just because a lake is constantly fished by dozens of other anglers, it doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish there.

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On my most recent trip to Camp Ernst I caught over 20 bass. Most of the bass were small, but I did manage to catch few keeper bass over 15 inches.

On this trip I used an ultralight St. Croix rod, with 6 pound test line. I caught all the fish on a  Rapala Skitter Pop topwater lure. Using light tackle and using very light line really helped me catch quite a few fish.  Downsizing helps catch more fish on busy lakes.  These fish are used to seeing lures and line.

This trip turned out much better than I expected. I love catching fish on topwater lures. Going out and catching over 20 bass in just a couple of hours all on topwater makes for a fun day.

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Tips

A Lure Every Bass Fisherman Owns

There is one lure that virtually every bass fisherman owns. This lure has been around since the 1950’s. The spinnerbait has stood the test of time and still catches fish today.

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The spinnerbait comes in a variety sizes and colors. If you walk down the spinnerbait aisle at Bass Pro Shops, you may become overwhelmed by the never ending selection. There are many different styles, but I like to keep things pretty basic. There are three main factors to consider; blade shape, color, and weight.

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There are 3 main blade styles when selecting a spinnerbait. The Indiana, Colorado, and willow-leaf. The Colorado blade puts out a ton of vibration. I use this blade style in murky water. The willow leaf – probably the one most anglers use – puts out a ton of flash. The Indiana falls in between both of these, not too flashy, and not a ton of vibration.

I select 2 main colors for almost all my spinnerbait fishing; shad color and chartreuse. That’s it; I keep it very simple. In clear water, I will use the shad color, and in murky water I will use chartreuse.

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The last main consideration when selecting a spinnerbait is weight.  I would recommend a spinnerbait around a 1/2 ounce. This weight works well in shallow and deep water.

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Spinnerbaits are much better at catching fish in windy conditions than calm. If the wind is blowing, and the water is choppy, it’s the ideal time to use a spinnerbait.

Fishing Trips

Fall Fishing at Doe Run

Fish are starting to put weight on for the cold months ahead. Fall fishing can be some of the best of the year. I fished Doe Run Lake last week and caught some big bass.

The bass were suspended in large fallen trees. The trees that extended the furthest into the water were the most productive. I used a Live Target Frog to catch most of the fish. I tried other top water baits, but the lake had too many floating leaves and twigs that other baits got hung up on. The frog came through this floating debris nicely.

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It was a gorgeous fall day to spend some time in the kayak. This is a great time of year to get out on the water. The leaves are changing colors and the fish are biting.

I ended up catching eight largemouth bass, and a couple bluegill on a hair jig.  I plan on revisiting Doe Run in a few weeks.  The fishing is expected to only get better.

Check out my other visit to Doe Run earlier this summer here.